In March 2009, American missionaries made a special visit to Uganda to bring God’s word regarding homosexuality. The word that they brought is that “the gay movement is an evil institution” and presented a threat to the cohesion of African families.
A month after the workshops and preaching in Kampala by the evangelicals, the Anti-homosexuality Bill was introduced in Parliament. Uganda already had laws on the books outlawing homosexuality, making it an offense with a prison sentence up to 14 years. The new bill calls for the death penalty for those convicted a second time, are HIV-positive or engage in sex with a person younger than 18.
Western governments reacted swiftly, condemning the proposed bill and it was tabled but not withdrawn. Newspapers continued to advocate for its passage. One, publishing photos of Ugandan homosexuals, wrote that gays were raiding schools and recruiting children. Another Ugandan paper, Rolling Stone, ran an article about David Kato, an outspoken gay rights activist, and on the front page published his picture with the banner “Hang Them.”
Kato wasn’t hanged. Instead he was beaten to death on Wednesday.
A robbery gone bad, the police say.
Rolling Stone’s managing editor said that his death had nothing to do with what the paper had published. “We should not overblow the death of one,” he said.
One of the American missionaries who had conducted the workshop called the murder horrible. “I spoke to help people,” he said, “and I’m getting bludgeoned from one end to the other” with threats directed against him.
So the newspaper say, Not me. The missionary now sees himself as victims.
Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, the very one charged with bringing a greater sense of morality to the country, said, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”
Not only can they forget about human rights, it seems, but also about life itself.
But maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Maybe it was a robbery gone bad after all. Maybe the murderer was a deranged individual. Maybe the missionary is the true victim and the murder shouldn’t be overblown.
I think I’ve heard this before. Different continent. Different victims.